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edejkeller
05-26-2006, 06:45 PM
Yikes. I am 51 yr old active duty LTC in Army. My surgery was moved up to 21 June. It is an anterior lumbar interbody fusion from L1 to S1 as well as a derotation with the rods going from pelvis to T10. That seems like a lot. Might have minor laminectomy on L4 and L5 depending on nerve block tests. I am curious to hear if anyone else experienced such a large fusion (L1 to S1 seems pretty large) and how long it will take to recover with the two rods and the fusion. I am in pretty good shape considering (being Army). Eric

katblack
05-26-2006, 09:28 PM
I'm fused T-3 thru S-1. It's a biggie...lol
I'm doing pretty good considering how short the time has been since having it done in February.
I do not have much felexibility. I cannot twist or bend at the waist. All movements are whole body turns or bending at the knees.
I'm sure over time it will get better.
Each day I find I can do more and more.
The first 2 months, I couldn't get dressed without this homemade pants puller upper I used but now, I can do it without it so I know it's getting better.

edejkeller
05-26-2006, 10:03 PM
Thanks much for the reply. This is surgery #6. Two hip replacements, one hip revision, one biopsy, one shoulder replacement and this surgery coming up is most certainly the spookiest of all. I agree with bblest who talks in terms of life before and life after. I find myself thinking I have three weeks left of "being normal" before it all changes. I am impressed with your upbeat attitude.
Eric

katblack
05-26-2006, 10:25 PM
Wow, you have been through a lot!

Things do change but it's for the better in my case.
I was in horrid pain before surgery, couldn't really do anything anymore. Shopping was a test of pain threshold and doing dishes, a true nightmare.

This is tons better.
I am slowly doing more and more each day, I try not to push the limits too far because then I end up chasing pain away the next day.

You can do this. Just get positive about it. It's not life before and after surgery, it's life before and after getting fixed!
What can't you do now that you want to do when it's over? Plan for things.
My goal was to be able to travel again to take the kids on a plane from Florida to Maine to see the grandparents.
I'm going to do it this July if doc says so of course... :D
But, we haven't gone back to visit in 5 years because of my back pain. I couldn't carry a handbag never mind a suitcase. I couldn't sit for more than 2 hours without needing to lay down, I can do it now.
I couldn't walk more than a block without bending over in crippling, white hot burning pain in my lower back and left hip.
I went out to dinner tonight and then walked around downtown for nearly 2 hours. It didn't hurt!

This surgery was to get my life back that I lost due to pain.
It's coming back and whatever time I have left on this planet is going to be spent living life not worrying about pain.

edejkeller
05-27-2006, 06:21 AM
katbkack,
With the long fusion, what are you doing with physical therapy to regain whatever flexibility can be recovered? Also, what kind of bone did your surgeon use for the grafts since it is a lot of bone and finally- did your spine get the rods?
So many questions.
Eric

katblack
05-27-2006, 10:52 AM
With the long fusion, what are you doing with physical therapy to regain whatever flexibility can be recovered? I do some really small PT moves, nothing major at all, leg lifts, arm work, basically, leg strengthening stuff. I walk every day too as far as I can. I'm like forever banned from sit ups and side bend and stuff so walking for the win!...lol
Also, what kind of bone did your surgeon use for the grafts since it is a lot of bone and finally- did your spine get the rods? He used some of my own hip bone and some engineered stuff inside bone cages. Yes, I do have rods, 2 of them and a whole bunch of screws.

Reminds me, I need to call my sis and remind her about the xray pics again. She is so busy with babies she forgets...lol

summer
05-27-2006, 01:30 PM
Knock on wood.......my recovery is going very well. I use lots of tools like the grabber to reach items and a dressing stick to dress myself, sock aid to put on socks and shoe horn to get on sneakers. It was very easy to learn. I've worked my way up to staying awake during the day for THREE hours now before needing a nap! At first, I could only stay awake an hour before needing to go to sleep. I'm looking forward to my PT starting as soon as my pulse rate lowers (it was a side effect of surgery and I'm now on meds to lower it) I walk thirty minutes everyday ten min in the morning, noon and night. Luckily the weather has been cooperating.
Good luck

edejkeller
05-27-2006, 02:12 PM
Thanks much Summer and Katblack,
I am concerned about how quickly I can work. I am a paper pusher in the Pentagon (since I can't do much else anymore)- but the job is very demanding and I am one deep in it. Based on your stories; my surgery will be somewhat like yours except I am 51. How long was it before you could focus on difficult stuff- even if you stayed at home? Thanks again. Eric

katblack
05-27-2006, 02:27 PM
Thanks much Summer and Katblack,
I am concerned about how quickly I can work. I am a paper pusher in the Pentagon (since I can't do much else anymore)- but the job is very demanding and I am one deep in it. Based on your stories; my surgery will be somewhat like yours except I am 51. How long was it before you could focus on difficult stuff- even if you stayed at home? Thanks again. Eric
Focus on tasks like say reading and comprehension?
It was easily a month. Not joking. It was like all the anesthesia and pain meds had temporarily fried the part of my brain that could understand what I was reading.

For the first two weeks, my sister would put my meds in those weekly pill sorters for me because I couldn't wrap my brain around take 1-2 every 4-6 hours as needed for pain or take with food 3 times daily. My brain was sizzled.

I couldn't even focus on a simple magazine. Lots of pretty pictures but read an article? Oh hell no...lol


Like Summer, I used my grabber for everything for a long long time. I can now do most stuff by myself by bending at the knees and stuff. The PT and walking definitely helps make learning to get down so low easier and I think, faster. If I hadn't done all those simple leg moves, I don't think I'd be scrunching down as far as I can now.

Gosh, I could seriously write a book. I do need to rewrite my hospital stay stuff out. I was so out of it (not task focused) when I came home and everybody was asking me on my blog how everything was and I just typed like these half assed entries with no real details. I remember everything about those 18 days. Some bad, some good and some really bad and some really great.


Any questions, feel free. I do my best to check here at least every couple of days but as I get my life back more, I am out trying to live more.

summer
05-27-2006, 05:41 PM
HI
Same here..........right now my concentration level is basically non existent. I try to read the newspaper and fluff magazines, but can't focus on reading books yet. The best thing we have is the DVR or TIVO, so I can pause or stop a TV show when I'm unable to sit through the whole thing and pick up where I left off whenever I'm feeling up to it.
Listening to soothing sounds CD's in the hospital and at home really helped me unwind and relax, but everyone is different

edejkeller
05-27-2006, 09:41 PM
Summer and katblack,
Again, thanks much. I appreciate all your kindness in writing.
Eric

makaylasmom
06-02-2006, 10:06 PM
My surgery is the 26th of this month. I'm scared to death... how did you guys handle the anxiety? Are there things you wished you would have prepared for and didn't? Anything you wish you would have gotten to prepare yourself for surgery? While I am scared, I am also happy to have the surgery as well- I'm in ALOT of pain.. even walking takes it out of me. I know all will be okay- I guess I'm just having a "freak out" moment right now......

lelc2002@yahoo
06-03-2006, 05:46 AM
Angela,
I feel the same as you.. Is your curve lower?? I'll be going in Aug 1st & just had my test the other day.. I think you just try & stay busy & not dwell on it all(it's hard). sounds like you have a great surgeon!
I will be making some meals up & freezing them.. I'm getting info on the hospital bed ready since I do believe we will be needing it...also getting the bedroom set up with stuff I need in drawers I don't have to bend for..
I'm also going to shop this July to get some back to school stuff for the boys(I have 2) so they are ready for school in Sept since I won't be driving..
My husband is painting our bedroom today a nice calming green......
good luck & keep in touch...Lynne ;)

makaylasmom
06-03-2006, 10:39 PM
My curve is mid thoracic, and a big one. Yeah- I've been doing alot of preparation too! Especially when it comes to my daughter- she just turned two. I was hoping to not have surgery until I could atleast get her in school- but it won't be turning out that way. My ribs began collapsing back in February- and now are almost completely collapsed on the one side :( .

My hubby and I went to see the Divinci Code tonight- now I remember why I stopped going to the movies!! Those seats are horrible on me now. I really liked the movie tho! Do you have pain? How do you tolerate it? I'm hoping and praying, alot of praying, that after this surgery- although I know if will be some time- I can start to regain my life back!! :p

One of my co-workers church group is going to make dinners for our family for the first 2 weeks after I come home from the hospital. I just think that is the coolest thing ever! Just when you think things are looking bleek, someone or a group of people in this case- can really lift you back up.

This forum is absolutely AWESOME. As wierd as it might seem, it is nice to know I am not in uncharted waters!!!

Thank you all!

lelc2002@yahoo
06-04-2006, 06:06 AM
Angela,
I really can't say I have horrible pain(or maybe I'm just used to it??) But the last few nights I've been real achey & sometimes I have to watch myself climbing the stairs at night cause I feel like I'll almost going to fall backwards..
My husband is painting our bedroom this wkend, so being displaced, I have realized how early I normally go in & lie down & I could'nt last night...had to sit on the couch...I guess I'm just real achey at night..not in the day though..
When my MRI was done last week,the technician showed me that my stomach is smooshed in a tight spot because of my major lumbar curve..I'm having pretty major digestion issues going on & now they see why....looked like my kidneys were in a whacky position too...I hav'ent seen anyone's lumbar curve that looks as bad as mine..yet... & I know I'll be a long surgery for Dr. Boachie.... My sister said maybe they'll make me a study case & write off the costs..........that would be ok with me......LY
good luck & do have your husband update because we have'nt heard anythg from Brandi(BBest) yet & I'm hoping to hear soon......... :)

edejkeller
06-04-2006, 08:00 AM
I am back. Surgery on 13 June. I must admit in listening to the stories, makaylasmom, lelc2002@yahoo, summer and katblack- I am impressed on how well you all do with children in the house. Mine are in college and other than throwing money at them and their shool at random times - they require little care. My curves are not as bad as yours with the main issue being the kyphosis and DDD. My scoliosis is nothing like yours.
This is my sixth surgery and I empathize with those who wait with apprehension. To use a professional term- surgery sucks. However, most of the folks from the board do better after than before and that is hopeful.
Angela- even Army guys with lots of surgery experience freak out at the thought of spinal surgery- you are most certainly not alone.
Walk with God. Eric